Category Archives: Technology

Can Natural Disasters Doom The Future Of Cloud Computing?

Can Natural Disasters Doom The Future Of Cloud Computing?

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many people are asking whether cloud computing can withstand nature’s wrath. The storm took several major cloud computing companies offline, including Amazon Web Services (at least on the East Coast), and left thousands of websites and online services down for hours—and in some cases days.

Hurricane Sandy has definitely proved that the cloud is vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather patterns, but that hardly presages the death of cloud computing. All computers and electronic systems are equally susceptible to the same events. Millions of people lost telephone and electricity service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (as is the case for essentially all major storms). But cloud skeptics seem to conveniently forget that even if cloud services didn’t go down, victims of natural disasters without power still wouldn’t be able to access them.

In reality, most cloud computing company’s data centers are far more resistant to extreme weather and other disasters than the on-premises servers and work stations belonging to most homes and businesses. At several data centers along the eastern seaboard, data centers lost grid-based power but then immediately switched over to emergency generators. For many cloud companies, it was only when their generators were running out of fuel that they began shutting down servers. Such an organized shutdown is far safer than sudden power disruptions at a typical home or office, which are often responsible for hardware damage and data corruption.

Critics also typically fail to mention that the underlying network infrastructure upon which U.S. data centers rely is one of the most secure public utility systems in the country. While much of the nation’s electricity system is aboveground and millions of miles of waterlines have been cited by civil engineers as being in decay, the fiber-optic data transmission network which data centers use is almost always securely buried belowground—and sometimes even underneath oceans.

If anything, Hurricane Sandy will likely inspire cloud computing companies and data centers to develop even more robust protocols for dealing with extreme weather, power outages, and other emergency events. Already, several companies are experimenting with running data centers with alternative energy sources, such as solar, geothermic, and tidal, that are completely independent of the national power grid. That kind of forward thinking and investment are what set cloud computing companies apart from the many businesses that rely on traditional on-premises IT infrastructure and public utilities.

By Robert Shaw

Drivers Of Cloud Computing Adaption

Drivers Of Cloud Computing Adaption

Cloud computing is now in heavy use in the industry and even the consumer market is starting to consider the benefits of cloud computing. Even though it is using the same technology that we have since more than 10 years ago, the cloud computing paradigm made all of the difference by simply changing the implementation of networking technology. But what exactly drives the development of cloud technology, what motivates its constant update, and what prevents people from adopting it?

Well, the biggest driver of cloud computing has always been economics. Because of changing market trends, heavy competition, and a failing world economy, IT organizations, companies, and other businesses need to be able to adapt to the rapid changes in order to stay afloat and make profit. Cloud computing brings with it immediate advantages because of cost savings.

The following are cost saving benefits are immediately felt by a business the moment they implement cloud computing technologies.

Cost savings on hardware and utilities brought about by scalability – the traditional method of supporting an organization with an IT infrastructure was to “buy and build for peak”, meaning that you have to build your IT infrastructure for future proofing. By assuming that the company will still grow to use more IT resources, you build your IT infrastructure depending on the projected size of the organization in the coming years. This means buying the most expensive and powerful equipment. Once they are installed, only a partial part of it is being actively used, meaning that most of its capacity and power are wasted. But with cloud computing, you no longer need to build the infrastructure yourself, it is being given as a service and you get to pay only for that portion that you use. When you need more resources, you can just get it and pay a little more. That is straight up cost savings and zero waste; you no longer have to pay for stuff like electrical utilities used on server cooling.

Cost savings on Technical expertise – one big problem with startup companies making their own IT infrastructure is finding the right people for the job. It becomes a tedious process when you happen to need people with high levels of technical expertise but are not able to give the compensation that they require. Surely there is a better way than to work with inexperienced workers. Cloud computing providers will already have the technical expertise to run a large system so you do not need to. Cost savings made by foregoing the hiring process, salaries, and human errors credited to new and inexperience administrators.

Cost savings due to security – information is really the most important variable in today’s online world. Once you get your data compromised, you lose money and customer’s trust. Like the above point, it is hard to find personnel with extensive computer security background, while your cloud provider might already have these kinds of people on staff.

By Abdul Salam

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Growing Up

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Growing Up



By David Fletcher

For the reuse of our CloudTweaks comic images for print, web or related, please contact us regarding.

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012: Audriga

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012: Audriga

Top 25 European Rising Stars: Audriga

……..Audriga says It’s Time to Stop an Email Clog via Its Migration SaaS

The German startup, Audriga has not many peers in a business that many have thought does not exist. According to Gartner, transferring an email with all its contents requires $18. Now one considers what it amounts to when an entity not only transfers its staff’s, personal and corporate emails, but does away with one host for another domain provider without losing its data stream. Mind-boggling sums are already forming in the head.  Audriga says that it stems the billowing tide of expense by using its Software as a Service (SaaS) migration cloud to reduce costs in about three spheres:

  • Software
  • Infrastructure
  • Security

For software solutions, the typical cloud can readily supply an answer with its pay-as-you-go formula. However, Audriga has a browsing tool that helps to configure the migration process, online, without any need to install or pay for software. This is while not forgetting the ease, uptime and fastness of the transfer. As all open source technologies are, there are no barriers between one diverse format and another for they all melt into one compatible application. This is the same situation with this particular offering.

In infrastructure, the word is uptime. Audriga does not send one webmail account to a remote data center, at a time, but uses the wide network broadband of the cloud to migrate simultaneously. It can send an entire blog to another host or pile up documents from a webmail that is full in the company’s private data base. All this happens in one fell swoop. Julius Parisius of Karlsruhe says of the product:
The service was easy to use and the migration succeeded flawlessly.

Security for contacts and personal data migration is possible by Audriga’s assertion of sticking to European Union regulations about information safety. The startup does this by ensuring that it follows all privacy and Information Technology policies that are on the ground.

Audriga uses its Migrate-mail.com domain to initiate the process of sending finance, market and product emails into the desired end point. The latter can be a new domain, online mail portal or in-house database. In market terms, one can see how the email lists of two hundred consumers, for example, on the site, underwent over three thousand migrations to a new hosting platform. In finance matters, one espies the removal of account details from a provider to another while in the product sphere, one sees the development phase (with all the research and troubleshooting data collected within the phase) migrate to a better web storage base.

Audriga is pretty audacious for a recent site because it not only targets consumers but Information Technology experts and hosting firms. When it is not dealing with consumers, like companies directly, it offers what it calls “migration as a service” to hosts and IT personnel. The site remarks that hosts can increase their domain sales when they provide space from which users can migrate their contacts easily if need be. The allowance to move to a new webmail or hosting environment gives users confidence in that their data, under the current provider, is safe, besides the assurance that they can transfer it without complications. Information Technology teams benefit from the fact that they get to fast-track the migration procedure without any hitches. Whether it is an IT department outsourcing for a company or for the host, either way it benefits by increasing customer confidence when the transition is hitch-free.

When it comes to cross-platform migration, Audriga works with several desktop and online systems. One of these is the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This happens through integration of Interface Programming (API), where various apps work together in a design that requires no further software installation. Workspace management programs also sync with the Audriga’s applications. The startup does not mention whether it works with specific Operating System’s products, search engine systems or software of similar nature from private vendors. MigrationWiz, another established cloud migrating company, specifically mentions its industry systems like Gmail and Windows mailing products.

Audriga, one of the three best startups in Europe, according to a EuroCloud rewarding platform, is based in the biggest economy in Europe, Germany. Its founders include Frank Dengler, Hans-Jorg Happel and Dr. Thomas King. All of them contribute in different managerial and operational roles, which have perhaps made their startup worthy of being one of the European Rising Stars.

Previous Mention: Filespirit

By John Omwamba

Solving Problems On The Cloud Part 2: PaaS Adoption Rates Lag Behind SaaS, Again

Solving Problems On The Cloud Part 2: PaaS Adoption Rates Lag Behind SaaS, Again

Continued From Part 1

In the 1920s Gestalt Psychologists developed the concept that by reimagining a difficulty one could solve a problem. This meant restructuring a problem’s components by recasting one’s mental picture. Perhaps this is what’s needed when it comes to PaaS.

With advent of the personal computer, the business dynamics of the cloud have long since moved away from its original expectations, but its return to the original vision may arrive sooner than we think. The idea then was a handful of networks running the show but the more current version of PaaS’ arrival depends on the imaginations of PaaS enthusiasts. Before we consider that, let’s detail the PaaS problem as it currently stands.

The Current Paas Status

Writing for Cloud Tech, James Bourne reports on the current lack of adoption problem with PaaS. Citing research from Symform, Bourne confirms the ongoing dynamic that software-as-a-service (SaaS) continues building sales while platform-as-a-service (PaaS) stagnates. This 500 participant study demonstrated that 79% of those surveyed are utilizing SaaS and that 48% had no plans of utilizing PaaS. Meanwhile the ancient history of cloud computing reflects that it all began in quite the opposite way.

Paas History

A recent infographic points out that it all began in 1950 when Herb Grosch’s imagined the entire world running on terminals that received information from 15 large data centers, a somewhat Orwellian sounding prospect. (PaaS sounds better.) Think ahead towards a maturing cloud industry and it’s not hard to imagine a more democratic version of Grosch’s prediction coming true. But what does a stakeholder do in the meantime?

Gestalt Approaches to PaaS & Amazon

How can we reimagine PaaS to meet the needs and demands of clients trained to own their platforms since the beginning of the personal computer revolution? Retrain the consumer.

Many business revolutions began through selling to the retail customer. While politicians were promising a  chicken in every pot, Henry Ford had already been working on a car in every driveway in the same way that Microsoft and Apple worked to get Windows and iOS operating systems into every household and business. All those customers had to be trained to some degree. Its seems Amazon has reimagined its cloud in much the same way.

Since cost drives consumer sales and most consumers remain fixated on ownership, Amazon has decided to give it away. When I bought my daughters textbooks last fall from I received a credit from Amazon’s cloud that includes a player. Seven songs got me rolling that I can download to my iPod account. What Amazon got was a current customer logging more frequently unto their site and even spending a little more money. Perhaps most important in this transaction is the retraining of a consumer in the ABCs of PaaS. How can you reimagine your barriers and create a whole new set of solutions?

By Don Cleveland

Cloud Infographic: What Is Big Data, Anyway?

Cloud Infographic: What Is Big Data, Anyway?

Cloud Infographic: What Is Big Data, Anyway?

In information technology, big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization. The trend to larger data sets is due to the additional information derivable from analysis of a single large set of related data, as compared to separate smaller sets with the same total amount of data, allowing correlations to be found to “spot business trends, determine quality of research, prevent diseases, link legal citations, combat crime, and determine real-time roadway traffic conditions… Continue Reading

 cloud big data

Infographic Source: ClearCi

 

SnapLogic: Tackling The Complex Features Of The Cloud

SnapLogic: Tackling The Complex Features Of The Cloud

SnapLogic: Tackling The Complex Features Of The Cloud

The very concept behind the development of the cloud is based on user friendly apps that allow for a much broader range of functionality for people who don’t really have anything to do with the IT world. And when SnapLogic was first developed in 2006, it became instantly famous because it took even the few technologically challenging aspects of interacting with the cloud and made them accessible to non-IT specialists.

The very concept was perfectly symbolized by the snap technology integration that would allow even the HR department of a company to integrate their legacy on site software with the services the company owned online. However the system does have its drawbacks, as many IT specialists pointed out, since those issues were the ones keeping them from doing their job. So even though the snap connections provided do allow integration of many cloud services like Amazon S3, CheetahMail, Google Apps, Oracle, SAP and NetSuite, they cannot guarantee the 100% uptime that dedicated IT departments are responsible for.

So the latest SnapLogic release called “Enterprise Integration Platform” was actually designed to provide the higher degree of control that the IT departments require. The new platform could be regarded as a pace offering to the specialists but it also provides some long needed upgrades that should make life easier for most of the users.

Probably the most sought after feature that has been integrated in the new platform is the rollback function that allows users to go back to a stable configuration if one of the integrations or updates they have implemented is creating problems for the system. And for those situations or workstations where the users are completely uncomfortable with handling IT issues there is also a “smart shutdown” feature that prevents new integrations from being started until other, already started integrations are completed.

Another feature that should eliminate downtown completely is the ability to mirror metadata across multiple active servers. In simple term this means that even if one server should fail at any given time every bit of information that it contained already exists on another server that is already active and able to pick up the slack. So from a front office point of view there should not be any interruptions in the workflow while the IT specialists handle the hardware or software issues.

But the ultimate change is in the web based interface that now allows administrators to perform user management tasks across the web. So, for companies that work out of multiple locations, there is no need for separate IT departments, since every task can be handled remotely over the internet. This also means that, were company policies allow, the IT specialists will be able to work from home even if that means working from another country.

Ultimately, the point of the cloud is to make life easier for its users and, with the latest updates in the SnapLogic system, the life of the IT specialists has also been made easier. And because of that they will probably prefer the SnapLogic system whenever they will need to integrate the onsite features of an office with the cloud services that they are using.

By Luchi Gabriel Manescu

The Great Arms Race For Security: Virtualization

The Great Arms Race For Security: Virtualization

Since its infancy in the early seventies when the first computer virus was created, the malware and anti-malware business has grown into multi-billion dollar industries. No longer are script kiddies creating malware for notoriety, instead the malware industry is run by organized criminals who invest time and money in new technologies and methods to compromise systems for profit.

The evolution of malware is the driver for the progress of security. Malware propagation has gone from floppy disks, to email attachments, and on to remote exploits of vulnerabilities. Malicious software itself has become more sophisticated by using kernel-level code to hide as rootkits, effectively moving down the stack. The result: an ‘arms race’ between organized criminals and security vendors. Each party reacts to changes in the industry to gain the upper hand. Take for example the growth in broadband adoption since the early 2000’s. As broadband adoption grew so too did the number of endpoints in botnets.

Security vendors process in excess of 4 billion requests per day to stop malware from propagating. However, the basic fundamentals of security have not changed in over 20 years. Malware takes advantage of exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications that run in them. The key point is that security solutions are implemented to stop malware within an operating system; however there is no such thing as a full-proof system. Security solutions operate within the confines of an operating system privilege structure. When attempting to inspect the system it is impossible to guarantee the integrity of the execution space of the security software running in the same execution space as malware. Therefore, beyond the question of whether or not a system has been compromised, it is a matter of what has not been found. With this in mind, the challenge for the security industry is to make the cost of attack so expensive that organized criminals choose different easier methods – for example basic social engineering techniques like a 451 scam.

Just as the rise of the Internet provided new opportunities for attackers, so too has virtualization and cloud technologies provided both security experts and attackers with new opportunities. With cloud computing the security challenge is even further exacerbated simply because end-users do not have access to the underlying infrastructure. Understanding how changing the infrastructure beneath endpoints affects endpoint security is elemental for security strategies. With all the benefits that virtualization brings, there are also new risks. Side channel exploitation, where a virtual machine is attacked from a neighboring virtual machine via a vulnerability are possible. This is simply due to the fact that multiple virtual machines share the same hardware via the hypervisor. In the case of cloud computing where multi-tenancy is the norm, there is no assurance that the end-user controlling a neighboring virtual machine has malicious intentions or not.

Virtualization and cloud computing is changing the security industry, both from a technology standpoint and the way it is consumed. With the benefits of a pay-as-you-grow model that cloud computing offers, end-users are able to quickly deploy IT infrastructure that addresses the business need without a large capital outlay. The security industry is evolving to meet this same licensing model requirements. However, even by meeting the needs of end-user license model requirements in the cloud; the challenge still remains the same. It is impossible to guarantee the integrity of the execution space of the security software running in the same execution space as threats.

With virtualization technology we now have the opportunity to exponentially raise the cost of attack on a system by gaining full visibility into the entire stack.

By utilizing hypervisor introspection technology it is possible to ensure the integrity of critical operating system areas, like the kernel for example. Through these introspective techniques threats are prevented from hiding or executing certain payloads within an operating system. Hypervisor introspection provides the security industry with the tooling to exponentially raise the cost of attack, by gaining full visibility into the execution space without operating in the same space that threats operate in. Similar to the movie “Minority report” where in the future criminals are arrested before they commit a crime, so too does virtualization technology enable security vendors to gain full visibility into systems and operate outside of the execution space that threats exist in.

By Gavin Hill, director of virtualization and cloud security research, Bitdefender

For over a decade, Gavin Hill has been the driver of security technologies for global organizations in markets that encompass North America, Europe, and Asia. With extensive technical-to-business experience that spans development, product management, and marketing, Hill has a proven record of success in driving first-to-market solutions. At Bitdefender, Hill is leading the product management and product marketing groups for virtualization and cloud security solutions.

CloudTweaks Comics
4 Industries Being Transformed By The Internet of Things

4 Industries Being Transformed By The Internet of Things

Compelling IoT Industries Every year, more and more media organizations race to predict the trends that will come to shape the online landscape over the next twelve months. Many of these are wild and outlandish and should be consumed with a pinch of salt, yet others stand out for their sober and well-researched judgements. Online…

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

5 Surprising Ways Cloud Computing Is Changing Education

Cloud Computing Education The benefits of cloud computing are being recognized in businesses and institutions across the board, with almost 90 percent of organizations currently using some kind of cloud-based application. The immediate benefits of cloud computing are obvious: cloud-based applications reduce infrastructure and IT costs, increase accessibility, enable collaboration, and allow organizations more flexibility…

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most Cloud computing is rapidly revolutionizing the way we do business. Instead of being a blurry buzzword, it has become a facet of everyday life. Most people may not quite understand how the cloud works, but electricity is quite difficult to fathom as well. Anyway, regardless of…

Cloud Infographic – Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Business downtime can be detrimental without a proper disaster recovery plan in place. Only 6% of businesses that experience downtime without a plan will survive long term. Less than half of all businesses that experience a disaster are likely to reopen their doors. There are many causes of data loss and downtime —…

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Programming Languages What programming languages are the building blocks to help develop and facilitate these present and future cloud platforms? Where can we learn and develop these skills in order to help us build our own careers? A couple of options would be to visit sites such as Stackoverflow which can provide you with a good source of information.…

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies – The Future Of The Healthcare Industry

Mobile Connected Technologies Clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are embracing new mobile technologies in order to be more efficient in their daily tasks. With faster communication and better collaboration, clinicians can spend much less time handling medical devices and more time administering care to their patients. Industry experts are stating that mobile connected technologies…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications It’s no secret that organizations are embracing the cloud and all the benefits that it entails. Whether its cost savings, increased flexibility or enhanced productivity – businesses around the world are leveraging the cloud to scale their business and better serve their customers. They are using a variety of cloud solutions…

Cloud Computing Then & Now

Cloud Computing Then & Now

The Evolving Cloud  From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing. A Brief History Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

Hybrid-Cloud Approach For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy.…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

How The CFAA Ruling Affects Individuals And Password-Sharing

How The CFAA Ruling Affects Individuals And Password-Sharing

Individuals and Password-Sharing With the 1980s came the explosion of computing. In 1980, the Commodore ushered in the advent of home computing. Time magazine declared 1982 was “The Year of the Computer.” By 1983, there were an estimated 10 million personal computers in the United States alone. As soon as computers became popular, the federal government…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…